New way to create better hospital experiences

Have you ever noticed that people’s experiences with the healthcare system vary widely? That depending on time, place, and personal situation, some people having smooth experiences, and others must deal with confusion, miscommunication, and sometimes avoidable pain or side effects?

Sometimes the system works as it should and people receive stellar treatment. Other times, general errors or funding problems or staff constraints can mean things go wrong.

For instance, I wrote about my grandma Kay, a mentally quick and resourceful woman---she got set up with homecare right after her last hospital stay, and that’s going well for her. But I also hear and read about individuals who need more hours of homecare, more showers, more help, and can’t afford to pay out of pocket for a provider.

But we may be getting better at thinking of creative solutions to providing more consistent treatment that makes sense, helping people navigate their healthcare experience, feel more comfortable, and heal faster.

One method was tried out at a Hamilton hospital and it helped over 1,000 patients. The program was rated so highly that Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins wants to roll out this “bundled” approach to many more hospitals.

It’s called ICC—for “integrated comprehensive care”—and it meant that a care coordinator, usually a registered nurse, was assigned to each client’s file, guiding them throughout the whole process of diagnosis, hospital stay, follow-up treatment, and homecare.

We all need people by our side, so I think care coordinators who are there to help us, explain things to us, and advocate on our behalf could go a long way in creating better and more consistent healthcare experiences, in and out of hospital.

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